Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Pints with Fluff

Me: "This is my mate Fluff"
Fluff: "Scott"
Me: "Fluff"
Fluff: "Scott"
Me: "You are called Fluff. Geoff needs to know your name"
Fluff: "I think he'd rather call me Scott..."

So went the chat in the Sheffield Tap brewery room last night. Given the obvious annoyance that Fluff (for short, Fluffy in formal company) feels towards his nickname, it's important for me, as a mate, to give a mature and proportionate response to his preference not to not be called Fluff. The post title is that response....

We were catching up on a pub crawl starting at the Sheffield Tap, since we'd not met at the Hop. I was first to arrive, and Geoff was stood at the bar whilst the barman was serving a bloke, who's every choice of beer, of which he wanted 3 pints, ran out, so it was taking quite a while to serve him. There was another member of staff, but she had prioritised cleaning up over the 10 customers not getting served, and when she abandoned that to serve someone, she went straight to a bloke who'd just arrived at the bar at the other end. Well done.

Anyhoo I finally got to buy something - two halves. One was Tapped Brew Co Bullet, which due to my amazing eyesight I'd misread as buffet (I suspect there isn't a buffet hop, but it is brewed in a former dining room so its not as daft as you think!). The other was a half of the Karha, a beer brewed at Thornbridge by Sheffield Hallam University real ale society and brewer Ben Wood. This is the first of the Varsity Brewing Challenge beers I've tried, the other being Brearley from the Sheffield University folks.

Am not usually a fan of spiced beers, and so was disappointed that the brew was going to have bite - I loved Ilkley Chipotle Chocolate Porter, because heat in dark beers can be complimentary - as proved by chilli chocolate. Heat or spice in light coloured beer is rarely successful though. Against which backdrop I can report that it was actually OK. Not setting the world alight, but an enjoyable drink. What I will say is, Brearley best not be spiced.....

Next up I had a pint of the Tapped Brew Co Bramling, which I'd enjoyed at the Hop beer fest. It was just as good now, and nice to see a beer showcasing a British Hop, and also about £2.80 a pint which isn't bad at all. And don't forget, there's a beer launch for a Magic Rock (innovative) and Kissmeyer (overpriced) collaboration brew on Tuesday. Alas I will be fannying about in the West all day, so will miss it, but it sounds like a good do.

Off to the Rutland next, where I haven't been for a while, and straight onto halves of Magic 8 Ball from Magic Rock for me, and Brewdog 5AM Saint for Fluff. The 8 Ball was £5.50 a pint, and even being a 7.0% Keykeg that is a little steep (I initially thought it was good because I thought it was 8%, thus over the HSBD), but the Brew Dog was virtually the same price, and nowhere near as strong. Outrageous! The 8 Ball was OK, but it seems to have never matched its early quality and balance, although it improved on warming.

We were joined by Commonside Crawler Simon (although that sounds like a criminal nickname!) and he went straight onto the Double Top Brewery Madness Porter at 5.2%, £3.20 odd, and worth every penny. I had the porter next as well, and found that by adding its silky smooth richness to the remaining 8 Ball I got a far better beer! Like I said, 8 Ball lacks the balance of its early appearances.

We walked up to the Bath Hotel for our final pints, and in here it was really a no contest as to what we'd drink - pints of Halcyon all round! Fluff may well be a new convert, but to be fair, if anyone had any other beers later on I have absolutely no idea what they were because the Halcyon finished us all off. Even at over £4.00 a pint (which is steep for cask below HSBD) we weren't willing to miss out on Halcyon. It really is the ferret's fingers. Or something.

So ended a great night out with good friends, great beers and not so great nicknames. Ideal preparation for next weeks SIBA BeerX.

See You all there!

Wee beefy

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